Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #3: Opening Day

Our first 2 pieces on Atlanta Braves Roster Talk can be found here:

While I don’t read too much into wins and losses in Spring Training, when discussing the last 4-5 roster spots on a 26-man roster, a superb outing or 2, especially for a relief pitcher, can truly make the difference in a roster spot. I remember back in 2010, Jonny Venters was invited to big league camp after back to back subpar years as a starter in the Braves system. It took one look in camp for Bobby Cox to see what he needed out of Venters, and as they say, the rest is history.

In my opinion, as far as relief pitchers are concerned, there are a few guys that have looked remarkable and have likely boosted their chances to receive an Opening Day nod.

Atlanta Braves Roster Talk: The Locks

Due to time constraints, I’m back to riding solo in this exercise, but feel free to let me know if you think my choices are boneheaded. While the outfield and bench might end up getting tweaked a bit via trade or release, I’m going to assume for now that everyone that’s here will stay here.


Catcher: Travis d’Arnaud

1st Baseman: Freddie Freeman

2nd Baseman: Ozzie Albies

Shortstop: Dansby Swanson

Left Field: Marcell Ozuna

Center Field: Ender Inciarte

Right Field: Ronald Acuña Jr.

Bench: Nick Markakis, Tyler Flowers, Adeiny Hechavarria, Adam Duvall


Starting Pitchers: Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried

Relief Pitchers: Mark Melancon, Will Smith, Shane Greene, Chris Martin, Luke Jackson, Darren O’Day

Lock, but role undetermined: Sean Newcomb


Braves Roster Talk: 4th & 5th Starting Pitchers

While Cole Hamels is back in camp, he still hasn’t been released to throw and is at least another week away from making that jump. His timetable still suggests a late April return.

Breakdown: Felix obviously helped his case in his first go-around with 2 solid innings of work, that may or may not have been related to focusing more on offspeed and command. We’ll see in his next start.

Bryse Wilson by default gets a 25% chance as he’s going to get a lot of chances to prove/disprove himself. A reminder that while he got shelled, he was also throwing all offspeed to try to continue to develop 2 new-ish pitches.

Kyle Wright also gets thrown in here at 25% and I simply cannot wait to see him in Spring.

If Tucker Davidson makes the team out of spring, I’d imagine it’d be in a relief role in place of Sean Newcomb, but his 2 innings of brilliance boosts his chance to get a look as a starter.

Braves Roster Talk: Reliever(s)

*Reminder that if Newcomb makes the team as a starter, his vacancy will create 2 spots needed in the bullpen.

Breakdown: Both Weigel and Davidson get significant jumps here as both pitchers could be used in multi-innings and both had outstanding first outings. Pfeifer gets a bump as well as he also has the ability to throw multiple innings. An added plus, his quick work to the plate made the game feel like it was put into hyperdrive, and players and managers eat that crap up.

Starting 3rd Baseman

This is the one in which it feels like nothing has changed, although Riley has had some hard hit balls, made a good play at 3B, and discussed his work in the offseason.

  • Johan Camargo: 53%
  • Austin Riley: 47%

Breakdown: I still think Riley has to have a near perfect spring to grab the spot, and he’s saying all the right things and looking revamped at the plate so he just might do it, but Camargo “BSOHL” still gets the nod.

Bench Bats (1)



I still fully believe that Camargo and Riley can coexist on this team only if Riley is the regular starter and Camargo goes back to super-subbing, therefore I had to divide this into separate scenarios.

Thanks for reading this piece on our Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #3. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our piece from a few days back on Braves Non-Roster Invitees!

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Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

23 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Roster Talk #3: Opening Day”

  1. Interested to see what the PA disbursement looks like with Camargo and Riley as the spring goes along. A big key to the season is Riley. If he has a big spring, and then a big year, then this is one of the best lineups in the NL. I don’t think anyone else on the position player side is more of a wild card than Riley.

  2. Elbow inflammation is common after surgery. However, combined with yesterday’s news that he was popping pills on a regular last year just to make it through games, it’d be a good idea to slow play Freddie the rest of spring and let him get re-evaluated by the doctors.

  3. Following up the discussion in the last thread re Keith Law’s omission of Drew Waters from his top 100–
    He does include him in his nine players who just missed the cut. Law is convinced that Waters won’t be able to hit quality pitching. According to Law, he has “no approach” and he opined that “you can’t swing and miss this much at AA and hit .300 plus in the big leagues.”
    I’ve only seen Waters for one at bat (his first last Saturday) and he drew a base on balls. So obviously he has acquired an approach.

  4. Chris Nunn sitting high 90’s and K’ing 3. Walked a guy, sawed off a bat for a bloop single, hit a guy, & left them loaded.

  5. @7

    JonathanF had him 2nd, but I don’t think his first pick of Lindor will be hitting one for the Braves anytime soon

  6. @10: That is correct. Langeliers was, I admit, my actual first pick, but I put Lindor in there first just to ensure I lost, unless somehow we traded for Lindor and he hit the first homer, which would have been the bank shot of all time. This way, I have bragging rights without, y’know, being actually having the tshirt to show for it. So the contest continues until someone’s first pick hits a dinger.

  7. Okay, random poll. Which Braves player will the following young players turn into?

    Dansby Swanson:
    • Andres Thomas (I’m just putting words into Coop’s mouth)
    • Jeff Blauser (a couple great years, mostly somewhere around mediocre-average due to inconsistency)
    • Edgar Renteria (very good player who spikes to All-Star performance)

    Austin Riley:
    • Juan Francisco (tiny bit of feast, whole lot of famine)
    • Mark DeRosa (took him a long time, but he evolved from a complementary piece into, briefly, a very good regular)
    • Darrell Evans (low averages, but boy was he a good player for a long time)

  8. Dansby is closer to Raphael Ramirez than any of the others — he will be very lucky if he can be as good as Blauser and Renteria. Seabass might be his best comp, in which case we should start calling him, “The good Dansby Swanson”.

    I think Riley is a perfect match for Eric Hinske.

  9. I’m bearish on Swanson. It’s go time for him this year. He just got a 600% raise and he’s sitting at 3.7 WAR across action in four seasons.

  10. Hopefully Dansby becomes what he was hyped to be. I’d be delighted with a Blauser outcome. This is probably his season to p produce or move on.

    Riley? Wouldn’t a Darrell Evans be nice?

  11. The Darrell Evans outcome for Riley would be fantastic. I agree with Bill James that Evans is among the 5 or 10 best players not in the Hall of Fame.

  12. Do we know anything more about a) Freddie’s elbow?

    b) Kelsey Wingert’s quitting/not being renewed/fired?

    It is worrying that in the space of a few days on the PR front we have her absence plus the current fiasco that is the new MiLB Park and the way it is being run/administered and the people who are manning it.

    Kelsey first. You couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect candidate to be the tv face of the Braves. Intros, mid game interviews, fun and games after a home win. Always with that lovely smile, laugh, she knew her baseball, a quick learner. Everyone seemed to really like her, for good reason. She arrived as an unknown, won us over, but now has ‘left’. Why? Judging by first impressions her successor from Chicago has about as much chance to meet that standard as I do. And I’m good – only the lack of most teeth and a lovely mop of blond hair hold me back.

    Seriously. It has to be a real concern that we have had these two major PR disasters in the first week or two of the new season. Who is running the logistic and PR side of the Braves. Who didn’t stand up against that awful new name for our home park which I for one refuse to use? These things are IMPORTANT. They create an image in the public arena. They are part of our brand, what should be the friendly and smart face of our club

    Look homeward Angel
    tell us what you see.

    To repeat, any news of Freddie?

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